Following the mass migration of Joshimath from Uttrakhand due to its feared subsidence, a similar tragedy nearly struck the banks of the Chenab river of Jammu and Kashmir, where 21 residential structures developed cracks in the Thathri tehsil of Doda in December of last year. The sudden cracks in the residential houses set off alarms throughout the district causing panic among the inhabitants.
Cracks in residential structures in Doda
“Up to 21 structures have developed cracks due to land ‘subsidence’ in Thathri Tehsil of the Doda-Kishtwar belt since December 2022. The mountainous region was identified as a potential center for hydroelectricity generation for the country and various projects and other construction activities are taking place in sensitive geological areas,” an official told KNO.
Authorities said the administration still does not know the cause of the soil erosion, while families have been moved to safer locations. They also said a team from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) was rushed to the site.
“We have moved 19 affected families to a safer place after their houses became unsafe. We are monitoring the situation and taking necessary measures to ensure their safety,” Sub-Divisional (Thathri) Magistrate Athar Amin Zargar said.
Doda District Magistrate Vishesh Mahajan confirmed that cracks appeared in some structures and people have been evacuated to safer places.
“Yes, cracks have appeared in some structures,” Visheshpal Mahajan, the Doda district magistrate said.
He said: “We have moved the families to the temporarily established relief camps and the GSI team is also on duty to determine the cause of the land subsidence.”
J&K Director of Geology and Mining O P Bhagat said they were approached by the district administration and then a team was formed to visit the site.
Cracks in almost 19 houses
Meanwhile, District Development Council (DDC) member, Thathri territorial constituency, Sandeep Manhas, “I visited the site and found cracks in almost 19 houses, mosques, and madrassa.”
“The land is sinking, but the confirmed reasons are not yet known,” Manhas said. “Residents are in a panic and have evacuated their homes. The administration has already been informed and they are looking into the matter.”
Uncontrolled construction in eco-sensitive
According to officials, the cracks appeared last December in a house and gradually worsened.
Earlier, mass migrations were reported from the city of Joshimath of Uttrakhand, which sank about 9 cm between April and November 2022, and from December 27, 2022, to January 8, 2023, it sank further about 5.4 cm.
Experts blamed uncontrolled construction in eco-sensitive areas as the main reason for the destruction.
“Comparing the situation in Nai Basti with the sunken city of Joshimath will be an exaggeration. We are facing a landslide problem and geologists from Chenab Valley Power Projects and the National Highways Authority of India have already inspected the site,” Zargar said.
Panic among villagers
Zahida Begum, whose family was moved to a temporary site, said they lived in the village for 15 years and were surprised to notice cracks in the concrete houses.
“There is panic among more than 50 homes in the village. Most of the structures developed cracks after the landslide on Thursday,” she said, demanding proper rehabilitation for the affected families.
Farooq Ahmad, another local resident, said 117 members of 19 families of police, ex-military, defense personnel and workers have been relocated. Nai Basti has developed about two decades ago and there was no such problem, he said.
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